PREVIEW. 2019 Hankook 24H COTA USA
News | November 21, 2019
Can the SPX-entered Leipert Motorsport best its A6-class rivals to secure the 24H SERIES Continents outright? Can Sorg Rennsport overhaul the odds for ‘GT4’ glory? And can Classic BMW make it three wins from three at COTA in CUP1?
 
A6 – Can Car Collection claim the crown?
 
2018 A6-Pro in stats…
 
Polesitter:  Black Falcon (#2)
Pole position time:  2m 06.313s
Winning Team:  Black Falcon (#3)
Winning Car:  Mercedes-AMG GT3
Winning Drivers: Yelmer Buurman (NED), Mike Skeen (USA), Scott Heckert (USA), Bret Curtis (USA)
Laps completed: 603
Fastest Lap: 2m 08.070s – Yelmer Buurman, Black Falcon (#3)
 
2018 A6-Am in stats…
 
Polesitter:  R-Motorsport (#620)
Pole position time:  2m 05.774s
Winning Team:  PROsport Performance (#85)
Winning Car:  Mercedes-AMG GT3
Winning Drivers:  Charles Putman (USA), Charles Espenlaub (USA), Joe Foster (USA), Adam Christodoulou (GBR)
Laps completed:  596
Fastest Lap: 2m 06.971s – Marvin Kirchhofer, R-Motorsport (#620)
 
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For the third year in a row, Car Collection Motorsport (#34) heads to the Hankook 24H COTA USA in contention for the 24H SERIES Continents Overall Teams’ title, with Johannes Dr. Kirchhoff, Ingo Vogler and Elmar Grimm – who will team with Gustav and Max Edelhoff – also vying for the Overall Drivers’ crown. A former A6-Am winner at the Circuit of the Americas, the #34 Audi R8 LMS, ironically, hasn’t claimed a class victory since last April’s Hankook 12H NAVARRA.
 
Also under the spotlight in Austin will be the Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 (#4, Ben Keating / Jeroen Bleekemolen / Felipe Fraga / Cooper MacNeil) and the Herberth Motorsport Porsche 991 GT3 R (#91, Daniel Allemann / Ralf Bohn / Robert Renauer / Alfred Renauer). Both teams are former outright winners of the 24H SERIES season finale, and between Herberth’s Porsche and both of Black Falcon’s Mercedes, have led all but 41 of the 1,211 laps completed in 2017 and 2018.
 
Park Place Motorsports (#38, Alan Brynjolfsson / Trent Hindman) is one of two teams representing the Stars and Stripes on home turf in the A6 class, the other being CP Racing (#85). Charles Putman, Charles Espenlaub and Joe Foster – who this year have teamed with compatriot Shane Lewis in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 – secured the 24H SERIES Continents Overall Drivers’ crowns at last year’s event and have two former class victories already under their belts at COTA.
 
The only Ferrari 488 GT3 entered thus far belongs to HB Racing (#41), which makes its first 24H SERIES start since this year’s Hankook 12H SPA. A dual line-up from Toksport WRT completes the A6 grid, with Luca Stolz, Hendrik Still, Martin Konrad and Axcil Jefferies confirmed for the #90 Mercedes, and Nick Foster, Martin Berry, Eric Zang and Gerorge Kurtz teaming together in the sister #70 AMG GT3.
 
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SPX and 991 – Briody’s swan song; Leipert and Lorient’s title fight
 
2018 SPX in stats…
 
N/A
 
2018 991 in stats…
 
Polesitter:  Wright Motorsports (#91)
Pole position time:  2m 12.246s
Winning Team:  JDX Racing (#74)
Winning Car: Porsche 991-II Cup
Winning Drivers:  Alan Metni (USA), Mark Kvamme (USA), Trenton Estep (USA), David Baker (USA)
Laps completed:  570
Fastest Lap: 2m 13.245s – Jan Heylen, Wright Motorsports (#91)
 
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Nerves will no doubt be on edge at Leipert Motorsport (#710). Having emulated its 2017 success and already secured the SPX-class 24H SERIES Continents title, the Italian team is looking to claim the Overall Teams’ and Drivers’ championships as well at COTA. The Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Evo 2018 lies just three points ahead of Car Collection Motorsport (see ‘A6’ above). Harald Schlotter and Marcus Påverud meanwhile, who will team with Aleksander Schjerpen in the Leipert Lamborghini, are only four points clear of Porsche Lorient Racing’s Dominique Bastien and Speed Lover’s Nigel Farmer.
 
Emotions will be similarly high in the Cor Euser Racing garage (#717, Cor Euser / Einar Thorsen / Jim Briody/ Sam Allpass / Ward Sluys) as 75-year-old Jim Briody makes his 100th, and last, race start in a 24-hour or higher endurance event. You can read more about Jim’s extraordinary, 54-year racing career HERE. As they did at the inaugural event in 2017, Black Falcon will also run a second entry in the ‘Special Prototypes’ category, the Black Falcon Team Customer Racing Porsche 991 Cup MR (#703, TBC).
 
Across in ‘991’, and making its event debut, Porsche Lorient Racing (#911, Dominique Bastien / Jean-François Demorge / Eric Mouez / Frédéric Ancel) will be keen to mirror its recent title win in the 24H SERIES Europe with, potentially, the car’s first series victory since last year’s Hankook 24H BARCELONA. In a spectacularly close title fight, the MRS GT-Racing Porsche 991-II Cup (#991, Nicola Michelon / TBC) lies just one point adrift.
 
Kelly-Moss Motorsports, already a championship winner this year in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA, makes its 24H SERIES debut at the Circuit of the Americas with a stand-alone 991-II Cup (#906). The team’s all-American line-up includes Wayne, David and Chapman Ducote, who enter their third consecutive Hankook 24H COTA USA, having competed with Cor Euser Racing in ‘SP3’ in 2017 and taken 2nd in ‘GT4’ last year with RENNtech Motorsports. The trio this year teams with compatriots Andrew Davis and Alan Metni.
 
Speed Lover meanwhile will be looking to secure its third category win of the season, aiming to do so with a two-car line-up. Richard Verburg, Nigel Farmer, Gerald Tan and Pierre-Yves Paque will partner together in the #978 991-II Cup, while Jeroen Kreeft is thus far confirmed for the sister #902 Porsche.
 
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GT4 – American teams hope to land glory
 
 
2018 GT4 in stats…

 
Polesitter:  RENNtech Motorsports (#890)
Pole position time:  2m 16.583s
Winning Team:  Classic BMW (#272)
Winning Car: BMW M4 GT4
Winning Drivers:  Mike Vess (USA), Jason Hart (USA), Andrew Davis (USA), Curt Swearingin (USA), Matt Travis (USA)
Laps completed:  556
Fastest Lap: 2m 15.998s – Indy Dontje, Winward Racing / HTP Motorsport (#84)
 
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North American fans will want to keep a close eye on an impressive GT4 class: of the nine entrants so far, seven of them are based in the USA or Canada. Of the two confirmed German teams, the Sorg Rennsport BMW M4 GT4 (#451, Olaf Meyer / Björn Simon / Simon Tibbett) aims to secure the GT4-class title in this year’s 24H SERIES Continents, while the Black Falcon Team Customer Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 (#464, Alex Böhm / Axel König / Norbert Schneider) is the team’s third and final entry.
 
The RHC Jorgensen/Strom BMW M4 (#450, Daren Jorgensen / Brett Strom / Gerard McLeod / Danny van Dongen / Jon Miller) is another former COTA podium finisher, the California-based team having taken 3rd on its CREVENTIC debut last year. Ironically, Jon Miller will go head-to-head with his regular GT4 America Series team, ST Racing (#388, Samantha Tan / Jason Wolfe / Anthony Lazzaro / John Boyd / Harry Gottsacker), the field’s only Canadian entry and the eponymous outfit of team boss, Samantha Tan.
 
Like RHC Jorgensen/Strom, RENNtech Motorsports (#489) makes its return to the Hankook 24H COTA USA with a podium finish already under its belt, the ‘only AMG-derived Mercedes-Benz tuning company worldwide since 1989’ having finished 2nd in GT4 last year. Fellow Mercedes-AMG GT4 runner Winward Racing (#433, Russell and Bryce Ward / Kris Wilson / Philip Ellis) makes its event return hoping for third time lucky.
 
Bucking the trend in GT4 are 30-year motorsport veterans Racers Edge Motorsports (#401, Ross Smith / Marco and Dan DiLeo) and USRD (#411, Cody Kishel / James Li / Jean-Francois Brunot / Jeff Bader). The former enters the first Sin R1 GT4 to compete in a CREVENTIC event, while the latter will run a 2017-spec Ginetta G55 GT4 Evo.
 
A veteran of Indy Lights, IMSA, Formula Ford, and the World Challenge among many others during a three-decade heritage, Stephen Cameron Racing (#441) completed the GT4 line-up with a BMW M4.
 
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TCR and CUP1 –Autorama aiming for fifth win; Classic BMW aiming for its hattrick
 
 
2018 TCR in stats…
 
Polesitter:  LMS Racing by Bas Koeten Racing (#129)
Pole position time:  2m 19.747s
Winning Team:  LMS Racing by Bas Koeten Racing (#129)
Winning Car:  CUPRA TCR
Winning Drivers:  Antti Buri (FIN), Olli Kangas (FIN), Kari-Pekka Laaksonen (FIN), Ronny Jost (SUI)
Laps completed:  550
Fastest Lap: 2m 22.059s – Antti Buri, LMS Racing by Bas Koeten Racing (#129)
 
 
2018 CUP1 in stats…
 
Polesitter:  Hofor Racing powered by Bonk Motorsport (#131)
Pole position time:  2m 25.862s
Winning Team:  Hofor Racing powered by Bonk Motorsport (#131)
Winning Car:  BMW M235i Racing Cup 
Winning Drivers:  Martin Kroll (SUI), Michael Schrey (GER), Michael Fischer (AUT), Bernd Küpper (GER), Gustav Engljaehringer (AUT)
Laps completed:  511
Fastest Lap: 2m 27.093s – Michael Fischer, Hofor Racing powered by Bonk Motorsport (#131)
 
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Fresh from its victory at the inaugural TCR SPA 500, the Red Camel-Jordans.nl CUPRA TCR (#101, Ivo Breukers / Jerimy Daniel / Steven Liquorish / Jean-Francois Hevey) heads to COTA with an outside chance at the 24H SERIES Continents Overall TCE Teams’ title, though admittedly Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing (#112, Jérôme Ogay / Constantin Kletzer / Roberto Ferri / Alberto Vescovi) will prove difficult to overhaul in the title chase.
 
The Swiss outfit has won four of the six TCE rounds it has entered this year, and has already claimed the Overall TCE Teams’ title in the 24H SERIES Europe. For the second race on the trot, Autorama also brings a sister Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR to COTA (#114, Lukas Desserich / Stefan Tanner / Yannick Mettler / Christoph Ulrich).
 
Former TCR-class champion MONLAU COMPETICION (#107, Stuart Hall / Christopher Kemp / David Tinn / Tom Black) enters its third 24H SERIES race of the year looking for its first podium finish of 2019. Fellow CUPRA runner TOPCAR sport by Bas Koeten Racing meanwhile (#131, Fabian Danz / Antti Buri / Kari-Pekka Laaksonen) heads to COTA with a podium finish at the TCR SPA 500 and a TCE victory at Barcelona already under its belt.
 
Absent from the TCR podium since Portimão, AC Motorsport (#188, Stephane Perrin / Vincent Radermecker / Tom Boonen / James Kaye) will be keen to end its year with a strong result in the Audi RS3 LMS.
 
Representing the Stars and Stripes, Atlanta Speedwerks enters an ‘FK7’-spec Honda Civic Type-R (#126), while Heinlein Racing Development, which runs current TC America championship leader FCP Euro, is set to enter a Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR (#145).
 
Heading into the event, Classic BMW (#800, Ray Mason / Pierre Kleinubing) is one of only two teams to have won both of its previous entries in the Hankook 24H COTA USA, the other being CP Racing née PROsport Performance. Its class rival, the Sorg Rennsport BMW M240i Racing Cup (#851, Benito Tagle / Michael Nielsen), makes its first 24H SERIES start in 12 months.
 
 
*A full entry list for the 2019 Hankook 24H COTA USA can be found HERE and a schedule for the event is available HERE. Complete 24H SERIES Continents championship standings can also be seen HERE